Renewable Energy for Residential Customers

Holyoke is a great place for renewable energy!  HG&E has various sensors and communications located throughout its network, which allows for constant monitoring and load balancing.  This enables higher penetration of renewable systems without power quality concerns on HG&E’s system.  In addition, HG&E can perform system impact studies and integrate your system to our grid in a matter of days whereas typical private utilities may take months.  Furthermore, HG&E provides its customers with complimentary technical services such as a review of quotes received from installers to ensure the information provided is accurate. For more information on how solar works for customers, please see below.
As an HG&E customer, there are multiple incentives available to you to help get your project going.  To learn more about how solar works in HG&E's territory, review the applicable sections below or contact us

Solar for HG&E Customers

HG&E does not perform solar installations; however we work with companies who install systems in our territory on our customers’ properties. HG&E allows for our customers to install solar systems that are owned outright or leased.  Per MGL C.164 §47A(b), HG&E does not allow for companies to sell electricity directly to our customers through power purchase agreements (PPAs), which is a common business model for many solar companies in Massachusetts. In most cases, these PPA rates offered by solar companies are significantly higher than HG&E’s current retail rates.

There are many components that make up the retail rate, which allows HG&E to recover its costs needed in order to operate and maintain the electrical infrastructure along with purchasing and providing power to all of our customers.  In an effort to keep rates as low as possible and to avoid any cost shifts between customers, HG&E does not offer net-metering (i.e. spinning the meter backwards, or crediting solar generation at the retail rate). HG&E does, however, credit all generation at a wholesale rate, which is the pricing that HG&E would normally purchase power from the wholesale energy market. This rate reflects the wholesale energy pricing during hours that solar is generating, in addition to environmental benefits realized from solar generation. Please see the Distributed Generation Credit for more detail. An example of billing can be found below.

We recommend that customers reach out to a local installer to get more detail on costs and paybacks as well as determining if they conduct business in HG&E territory. Customers interested in installing solar should direct companies to the Distributed Generation Policy along with HG&E’s Information & Requirements for Electric Service Below 600 Volts.

 

HG&E requires a second meter to be installed for solar systems in order to measure all generation separate from normal home consumption which will be credited at HG&E’s Distributed Generation Credit. The customer will still be responsible for all building consumption billed at the normal Residential Electric Rate Schedule.

Residential Rate*:  $0.14/kWh
Distributed Generation Credit:  $0.065/kWh
Building Consumption:  500 kWh (actual, not reflecting solar generation)
Solar Generation:  500 kWh
*2022 Average

Calculation:

Building Consumption: 500 kWh x $0.14/kWh = $70.00
Solar Generation Credit: 500 kWh x -$0.065/kWh = -$32.50
Total Net Monthly Bill = $37.50

Note: HG&E will install a bi-directional meter in the existing main building meter socket. Generation measured at the second meter will be added back to the main meter to calculate true building consumption.

Incentives Available

HG&E's Residential Energy Conservation Program provides financial assistance at 0% interest for qualifying solar installation projects. 

As of November 26, 2018 the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) ended its Solar Carve-Out II (SREC II) Program and launched its new phase for solar – the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program (https://www-Massachusetts-renewable-target-smart).  Under this new program, systems built within Municipal Light Plant territories (i.e. HG&E) after November 26, 2018 are not eligible to participate and receive financial incentives offered under this program.  Customers who had systems operational before this date will still be able to continue to participate in previous programs (SREC I or SREC II) depending on commercial operation date.

HG&E customers who build system after November 26, 2018 can receive Massachusetts Class 1 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from their solar systems. One REC is created for every 1,000 kWh generated from the solar system. HG&E recommends that customers reach out to their installer or a REC aggregator for more information on selling RECs. For more detail, please visit the DOER’s SMART Program website.

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) programs provide HG&E with access to financial incentives that can be used to construct and upgrade utility-scale renewable generation.  Since HG&E’s renewable generation provides over 65% of Holyoke’s annual electric supply, MassCEC incentives benefit all customers by ensuring that HG&E’s rates remain low. Programs are made available to residential and commercial customers from time to time on the MassCEC website.

In order for HG&E and its customers to have continued access to MassCEC programs, customers must pay into the Renewable Energy Fund.  This translates to a Renewable Energy Charge of $0.0005 (one-twentieth of a cent) per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity consumed on your monthly bill.  For the average customer who consumes 500 kWh of electricity each month, this translates to an approximate $0.25 increase per bill.  Please note that due to MassCEC regulations, the Renewable Energy Charge is not subject to HG&E’s 10% prompt payment discount. 

For additional information, please refer to HG&E’s Renewable Energy Charge Rate Schedule.

The State and Federal Government offers a variety of financial incentives to aid the installation of renewable energy projects. Please consult your accountant or tax advisor regarding your eligibility for these incentives, and visit the database of state incentives and rebates.

Federal Tax Credit - The federal residential solar energy credit is a tax credit that can be claimed on federal income taxes for a percentage of the cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The system must be placed in service during the tax year and generate electricity for a home located in the United States.

In December 2020, Congress passed an extension of this tax credit, which provides a 26% tax credit for systems installed in 2020-2022, and 22% for systems installed in 2023. (Systems installed before December 31, 2019 were eligible for a 30% tax credit.) The tax credit expires starting in 2024 unless Congress renews it.

MA Personal Tax Credit - Massachusetts allows a 15% credit (up to $1,000) against the State income tax for the net expenditure of a renewable energy system (including installation costs) that is installed on an individual’s primary residence.  See MGL C.62 §6(d).

MA Property Tax Exemption - Massachusetts law provides that solar-energy systems and wind-energy systems used as a primary or auxiliary power system for the purpose of heating or otherwise supplying the energy needs of taxable property are exempt from local property tax for a 20-year period.   See MGL C.59 §5(45, 45A) .

Sales Tax Exemption - Massachusetts law exempts from the state’s sales tax equipment directly relating to any solar or wind-powered system that supplies the energy needs of an individual’s principal residence.  See MGL C.64H §6(dd).

Community solar is a different model for solar energy. Instead of installing solar on your own home or property, community solar allows many people to come together and receive power from a larger solar array.  Traditional residential solar systems require a large upfront investment, an ideal sunny location, and homeownership.

HG&E is partnering with a large-scale solar developer and offering the solar project’s generation directly to residential customers who opt-in to the program.  There is no cost to you – all you need to do is sign up. Please see the Community Solar for more detail.

Contact Info

99 Suffolk Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
Tel: (413) 536-9300
Fax: (413) 552-0392
Toll-free: (877) 742-5443
Email